Last Saturday I was in Maryland for a beautiful wedding. I knew I’d cry. I always cry at weddings. What typically gets me going is watching the groom’s face as he gets the first glimpse of his love walking down the aisle towards him– seeing him tear up, seeing him try to swallow the lump in his throat as he attempts to remain composed but you know that inside his heart is bursting with love and joy. And yes, seeing the groom last Saturday did make me so happy as the love that this couple shares is really special and I was so grateful to have been a part of their day. But what really got me this time was seeing the groom’s sister crying as she, a beautiful bridesmaid, made her way to the front of the church. I shared in the tears of that young woman as she wept with joy for the love her brother has found– a flood of emotions came forward and I was completely unprepared. They, like us, only have each other for siblings– just one boy and one girl in the family. It made my heart ache for being denied the opportunity of ever seeing you eagerly standing in a tuxedo at the front of a long aisle as you wait for the love of your life to make her way to you.
You were so quiet and secretive about your relationships so when you did finally introduce someone to the family it was a really, really big deal and I never took that lightly! I did always hope for the day when you would meet someone special enough to earn a place in your life as your wife–she’d have been a lucky girl and you really deserved to find that for yourself. I also know that when I marry again that I will be missing you a little extra that day as I would have had you give me away and walk me down the aisle towards the man that I love.
It is in no way lost on me that your death has altered me in such a way that no experience is ever like I expect it to be anymore; I now look at things through a completely different lens. It seems very little that happens is a benign event– you always seem to come to mind. I think about how you’d react if you were there… or how my experience of it would be changed if you were here to share it with me. If there is one thing I’ve learned it is to just allow those feelings to come forward and allow myself to just feel them… they are there for a reason.
It’s been nearly 4 years since you took yourself away from me; in the agonizing days, weeks and months following your death I honestly didn’t think I’d be able make it this far… but I have. I ache so badly for what I’ve lost with you gone, Brian; but it no longer consumes me every single day. I’m strong enough that the days where I am completely incapacitated by grief are growing further and further apart. Please keep leaving those pennies for me, dude. Each and every one I find makes my heart smile to think that you are out there somewhere thinking of me, too.